MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University will play host to an inaugural Native American film festival titled “Sweetgrass Cinema” Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 14-16. The festival will feature both contemporary and classic Native American films, presentations, workshops, panel discussions and other events. The public is invited to attend free of charge.
Several guest speakers will also participate, including Sherwin Bitsui, an Academy of American Poets award winner and Sundance Film Festival participant; Chris Eyre, the director of Images of Indians: How Hollywood Stereotyped the Native American; and Brent Michael Davids, a Grammy co-winner who has rescored Last of the Mohicans in native language and music.
Allison Hedge Coke, an NMU English professor and festival organizer, said she received a King-Chavez-Parks grant and asked students what type of project they would like to see the funding support.
“Most agreed that they wanted to see more films,” she said. “The name for the festival comes from a new student organization – the Sweetgrass Association – which has been formed to implement more fine arts for educational purposes. Everyone loves movies, and I’ve chosen films that explore diverse issues including athletics, health and wellness, sociology, psychology and politics. It is a nice complement to the Domestic Diversity Institute being held on campus at the same time, and it ties in with the ‘Old Hollywood’ homecoming theme.”
The films The Gift, Black Cloud and American Indian Graffiti will be shown Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 2, 7 and 9 p.m., respectively. Doe Boy, Tattoo on my Heart and A Thousand Roads will be shown Thursday, Sept. 15, at 2, 4:15 and 8:30 p.m. The Friday, Sept. 16 films will be Goodnight Irene, Images of Indians: How
Hollywood Stereotyped the Native American and Last of the Mohicans (rescored version with native language and music) at 2, 3 and 7:30 p.m. A full schedule of events is available at http://www.upced.org/diversity2005/sweetgrass/.
This film festival is sponsored by the Sweetgrass Association, the Landmark Inn, the American Indian Coordinating Council, Michigan Humanities Council, Native Americans of Marquette County, the National Museum of the American Indian and the Center for Native American Studies. For more information, contact the center at 227-1397.